You ARE Well-Being (yes, you are!)

November 14th, 2019 | no comments
seed of well-being

Photo by Manuel Sardo on Unsplash

 

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Also in this post (scroll to the very bottom):  Earthfood-Loaded Easy Thanksgiving Dinner!🦃


 

You are well.

Yes, you!

I don’t care:

  • who you are
  • what the mirror reflects
  • what your most recent lab test reveals…

 

Planted deep inside of you is the seed of well-being. 

 

This well-being is similar to that of a seed buried in a pot full of soil. When the proper conditions are met (i.e. temperature, oxygen, water, etc.), Mother Nature takes over and the seed begins to germinate.  

Yes, we all have the potential for better health, and the degree of its expression is dependent upon the hundreds of choices we make every day. 

 

What is the quality of your “soil”?

How would you describe the quality of your soil? Barren and dry? Or rich, fertile, and brimming with nutrients?

To answer this question, I invite you to open up and examine the storybook of your health. Are you experiencing dis-ease? How about those lab results? Are you proud of the outcome, or concerned?

With few exceptions (i.e. non-lifestyle-driven diseases such as juvenile diabetes and the like), if you are not experiencing the health you desire, this is due to a lack of persistent and consistently-practiced wholesome choices. I’m not talking perfection here… because what’s life without the occasional hot fudge sundae or slice of pizza? I’m referring to being relentlessly consistent in the quality of your choices.

 

When it comes to the health of your body, how relentlessly consistent are you in making choices to support the body you want to live in? 

 

Make no mistake, you absolutely have the seed of well-being planted inside of you; whether it sprouts or remains dormant is 100% up to you and completely under your control. 

 

Proof of your well-being: Homeostasis

Where’s the proof of this well-being? I’m so glad you asked, because I know you may be thinking this surely doesn’t apply to you, what with your aching knees and sky-high cholesterol and all.

 

Listen, you are NOT exempt from this inherent gift (no…you’re not!). Your body wants to be well so badly, that it will do everything in its power to return to well-being.

Formally defined, homeostasis means: any self-regulating process by which biological systems maintain stability while adjusting to conditions that are optimal for survival. 

 

Have you ever had a really strong craving for salty food after a sweaty workout? This is your body’s way of trying to replenish the sodium lost in your sweat. Similarly, when you’ve eaten too much salt, your internal thirst sensors go off and you must drink water. It’s a craving that can’t be satisfied any other way. This is homeostasis in action because too much sodium (or not enough), can be deadly.

 

How about that cut on your finger? Isn’t it amazing how your body knows exactly what to do to heal it? White blood cells rush to the injury site and the process of healing takes place. You don’t have to tell it to form a scab… it just does!

 

Your brilliant body is your ally—if you allow it to be. It knows exactly what to do heal itself if you trust it, feed it well, and then let it do its thing. Think of it like an entire ecosystem.

 

Your well-being ecosystem

Think of your inherent well-being as a single seed, planted in a larger ecosystem. Just like a tomato seed, it requires three things to bloom: nutrient-rich soil, water, and oxygen.

          Soil

Consider the hundreds of choices you are tasked with making every day: what to eat; when to eat; to exercise (or not); when to go to sleep. I could go on and on.

Of course with each choice comes millions of options. For example, imagine you’re at the airport waiting for your flight; you get a little hungry and decide to take a walk around to check out your options. There are literally hundreds of menu items to choose from: soft pretzels, pizza, cookies, McDonald’s, Starbuck’s, potato chips, salads, etc.

I’d like you to think of the hundreds of choices you make each day, as collectively forming to determine the quality of the soil in which your seed is planted.

          Water

Higher quality choices act like water and vital nutrients to our “soil”, thereby providing the ideal conditions for our seed of well-being to sprout.

However, when unsupportive choices creep in and dominate, over time they pull water and nutrients out of our soil…and our seed remains dormant. As with every seed found in nature, the potential for germination always exists, but the conditions must be right.

 

It’s no different for you.

 

One single choice won’t destroy the quality of your soil, as long as you buffer it with an abundance of wholesome choices. 

          Oxygen

Put yourself in your favorite restaurant. With menu in hand, you are faced with a decision of what to order.

Although you can’t physically see it, there exists an invisible gap, a tiny moment of space available to you before you commit to your choice.  Most of us step right over the gap and choose in a default, mindless manner without giving it any real consideration: seared salmon with a side of roasted vegetables or double pepperoni and sausage pizza? Duh…pizza of course!

But here’s the thing—when you stand in that gap and take a conscious breath, you are shining a bright light of awareness on your choice, which is akin to supplying essential oxygen to your seed of well-being.

You are in fact breathing life into your choice!

How does taking a breath nourish your seed of well-being? Your breath is the doorway into presence and the pipeline to where you want to be. Because you can’t breathe in the past or future, by pausing to take a fully focused breath, you actually force yourself into the present moment…and this moment is where all of your power lives.

 

This moment is life.

 

Since life is a continuous string of present moments, the more of them you choose to experience, the more powerful decisions you will make.

 

Are you fooling yourself?

How can you be sure you aren’t fooling yourself? After all, some would debate that as long as they are stopping to take a breath before they eat a cookie, they could technically eat cookies all day long.

 

It’s a brilliant argument!

 

Remember, we are living in an ecosystem here—your seed of well-being is nourished by both the quality of soil in which it’s planted (the average of your choices) and the oxygen it receives (the consciousness of the choice, achieved by taking a focused breath).

When you can strike a balance between more wholesome food and lifestyle choices and do it in a state of presence, you are able to enjoy a cookie or scoop of ice cream while still supporting the growth of your seed.

A sure way to tell if you’re on the right track, is by examining your current state of health. Are you full of energy, vitality, and life? If not, you’re out of balance!


 

Have a taste for Thanksgiving dinner before Thanksgiving? Check out my Earthfood-Loaded Easy Thanksgiving Dinner…

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Mac-n-Cheese Stuffed “Jack-O’-Lanterns”

The perfect pre-Trick-or-Treat meal idea! 

The kiddos (and hubby) will never guess there’s a secret ingredient in this mac-n-cheese (it’s butternut squash… shhhh).

Listen, I’m a realist. What’s mac-n-cheese without cheese? Well, it’s not. It’s mac-n-boring.

 

Since I’m all about taste AND nutrition, I chose to upgrade this recipe by doing two things:

  1. Cut the cheese (hee, hee 😜) in half and incorporate cooked butternut squash. 
  2. Use chickpea pasta because of its rich fiber and protein content.  

The orange peppers are raw and serve as a fun container for the meal…and also a great way to get your children to eat more veggies (don’t be surprised if they munch on it as they enjoy the contents)!

Adults…try adding a dash or two of hot sauce. Oh, and eating it out of a “Jack-O’-Lantern” is totally optional…but why would you not? 🎃

Happy Halloween my friends! 👻

Print Recipe
Mac-n-Cheese Stuffed “Jack-O’-Lanterns”
The perfect pre-Trick-or-Treat meal idea! The kiddos (and hubby) will never guess there's a secret ingredient in this mac-n-cheese. 1 Earthfood per serving: 💚 (two if you eat the pepper!)
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 box Banza pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained
  • 1 tbsp. Kerrygold butter
  • 1 cup Red onion, sliced thin
  • 5 cups Butternut squash, cubed (about one small) To save time, purchase peeled and cubed butternut squash!
  • 5 cups Organic chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened nut milk Almond, coconut, cashew, macadamia nut are all good choices.
  • 1 tsp. Sea salt
  • 2/3 cup Cheese I use a blend of Parmesan, Romano and Asiago cheese
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 large Orange bell peppers
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 box Banza pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained
  • 1 tbsp. Kerrygold butter
  • 1 cup Red onion, sliced thin
  • 5 cups Butternut squash, cubed (about one small) To save time, purchase peeled and cubed butternut squash!
  • 5 cups Organic chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened nut milk Almond, coconut, cashew, macadamia nut are all good choices.
  • 1 tsp. Sea salt
  • 2/3 cup Cheese I use a blend of Parmesan, Romano and Asiago cheese
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 large Orange bell peppers
Instructions
  1. Heat butter in skillet on low to medium heat and add onions. Saute for 15-20 minutes until fragrant and brown.
  2. While onions are cooking, remove the skin and seeds from squash and cut flesh into cubes (or purchase already peeled and cubed butternut squash). Bring broth to a boil in a large pot and add squash. Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Drain squash, reserving 1/2 cup of broth. Add squash, reserved broth, milk, sea salt and cooked onions to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
  4. Pour sauce over pasta, stirring to coat (see Recipe NOTE below). Stir in cheese and mix until melted throughout. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Cut tops off of peppers, clean out seeds and carve! Stuff each pepper “Jack-O’-Lantern" with equal amounts of mac-n-cheese and serve with stem on top. Enjoy! 🎃
Recipe Notes

This recipe makes a bit more sauce than you will need. No worries...store in an airtight container and refrigerate for later in the week.

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“Wholesome” is the New Healthy

October 9th, 2019 | no comments

 

Does the word “healthy” turn you off?  

It’s OK if you said yes, it’s sort of a loaded word after all. Be honest, when you think of a food being “healthy”, tell me you don’t picture twigs, tree bark and grass…tasteless food with enough roughage to sink a luxury cruise-liner.

Lately, I’ve been loving the word wholesome. It says so much, without making you feel like you’re signing on for a life of green juice and kale chips.

 

Wholesome defined…

Wholesome is defined as: promoting health or well-being of body, mind or spirit.

The meals my mom served growing up were wholesome…and comforting; nourishing, without being categorized as “healthy”. They were healthy, but we didn’t know it.

I can still remember the first intoxicating whiff of her homemade spaghetti sauce upon walking in the door after a long, hard day at John Glenn Elementary School 😉. There it sat, simmering all day in the giant stock pot, waiting to be savored. It was the scent of… home.  

Sometimes we get so caught up in the details of carbs, sugar, and fat– not to mention the added stress of a health diagnosis–that we forget one universal important fact: food is meant to be savored and enjoyed.

 

Two characteristics of a wholesome meal

 

In my eyes, a wholesome meal must take into account two elements: taste and quality. 

Taste without quality is called a Big Mac. 

Taste with quality is a grass-fed beef burger, served with mashed avocado, on a bed of greens, adorned with crumbled goat cheese, caramelized Brussels sprouts, roasted pecans and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, and a few cranks of pink Himalayan sea salt (don’t forget to toss in a few fresh berries). 

 

Another example of a flavorful meal lacking in quality is a plate of pasta drenched in sugar-laced Ragu meat sauce with a side of cheesy garlic bread. 

A delicious meal with quality is a simple homemade meat sauce made with organic pork and organic grass-fed beef (cooked in the crock-pot while you’re away at work), served over butternut squash “noodles” and sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Oh…and a side of roasted garlicky broccoli!

 

Is your mouth watering yet? Try this wholesome meal idea

 

By the way, I made the above amazing meal over the weekend and my house smelled just like…home. It took me 10 minutes to brown the meat before work and 20 minutes to roast the broccoli and heat the “noodles” when I got home. To make this wholesomely delicious meal for your family, click HERE for the recipe .

Keep in mind, I made the following alterations:

  • True Story Organic Ground Pork (in place of loose pork sausage). If you can’t find True Story pork, any organic ground pork will do, or at the very least, a pork with no antibiotics or added hormones. 
  • Grass-fed organic beef (in place of ground beef). As above, if you can’t find organic grass-fed beef, choose grass-fed beef without antibiotics or added hormones. 
  • Ready-made butternut squash noodles (in place of making my own). Many grocery stores offer the convenience of fresh “noodled” vegetables in the produce department, or you can find them in the frozen food section too! 
  • Rather than the oven, I sautéed the butternut squash noodles stove-top in a bit of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper.   

To make the garlicky roasted broccoli, use this recipe.

Rather than consume yourself with calories, carbs, and fat, think wholesome. Ask yourself: is it both tasty AND of a quality worthy of grandma’s stamp of approval?

If yes, you’re golden! 

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4 Factors Affecting Your Food Cravings

September 25th, 2019 | no comments

 

Struggling with your food cravings and eating habits? There’s hope my friend. Check out my 30-Day Whole Body Health Program– it begins October 16th and is completely online! Learn a little more about it in this short but sweet video, including the 4 Factors Affecting Your Food Cravings.

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When You Have a Sweet Craving (and grapes won’t cut it)

September 24th, 2019 | no comments

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I always cringe just a bit whenever I overhear a well-meaning health professional/coach suggest we “eat a cluster of grapes” to curb our pressing sweet tooth. 

I cringe because I used to offer the same suggestion (eek!).

So what’s wrong with this advice? I mean, it sounds reasonable enough, doesn’t it?

It’s reasonable…until you try it. 

When I attempted to follow my own recommendation and chomp on a handful of red grapes, when what I was really craving was an ooey-gooey vanilla hot fudge sundae with salted nuts and whipped cream, I would eat the grapes…and then the sundae (and often a cookie too, because after all I just blew it…or so I told myself).

How could I continue dispensing this advice when I couldn’t follow it myself? I couldn’t.

 

Sometimes you don’t want flippin’ grapes!

Here’s the thing– sometimes you don’t want grapes! Sometimes you want ooey-gooey, covered in caramel and chocolate sauce! And dammit, sometimes you just want to feel human and not like a robotic, grape-eating student of perfect nutrition.

The truth is, we all like a little ooey-gooey (or crispy, salty, not-kale) once in a while. These “imperfections” are actually part of the perfection of this Universe, and honoring them is one of the most honorable things you can do…provided you aren’t doing it every single day (and if that’s the case, we need to talk😀). 

So is there a way to have your ooey-gooey and eat it too?

Yes! And in this short post I will offer you three effective strategies depending on the depth and nature of your craving.

 

3 Ways to settle your sweet tooth

To choose the strategy that is right for you in the moment, begin by asking yourself “what am I craving?” If your answer is very generic, such as sweet, salty, or crunchy, you will find the first strategy to be very effective. The second and third strategies are for more specific cravings. 

Strategy #1: Craving something sweet but NOT specific

If you simply have a taste for something sweet, without a particular attribute like “ooey-gooey” or “sweet and crunchy”, here’s where a cluster of grapes, a sweet Fuji apple, or small bowl of fresh berries can work beautifully.

Give it a try and see what happens, but don’t judge it as a failure if you’re still craving sweet afterwards. This just means your craving was probably more specific than you realized. Ask yourself “what specifically am I craving?” and move on to strategy two.

Strategy #2: Craving something sweet AND specific

If you can describe your craving (assuming it’s not for grapes😉), consider what I call an “upgraded’ version of the original. Notice I didn’t say “healthy”; there’s a big difference. While the upgrade may wind up being healthy, I find it best to avoid trying to turn a traditional favorite into something totally unrecognizable by your taste buds. It takes away all the fun…and will probably leave your craving unfulfilled.  

For example, I rarely crave ice cream, but when I do I can’t get it out of my mind. Last week was one of those occasions.

Now, I could’ve gone to the grocery store and picked up a container of plain Greek yogurt and mixed it with berries, nuts and honey– an example of a “healthified” version of ice cream. But dammit, I wanted ice cream! Frozen, ooey-gooey, whipped cream…you know what I’m talkin’ about!

So here’s what I did.

After dinner, Wayne and I made a special trip to Mitchell’s ice cream shop in Ohio City and treated ourselves to real ice cream.

I chose a Pumpkin Patch Sundae, with pumpkin spice ice cream made with roasted pumpkin and the milk of local grass-fed cows, homemade whipped cream, salted pecans, and caramel sauce without any artificial ingredients. 

Was it healthy? Hell no! But I wasn’t after health. I eat ice cream maybe twice a year, and dammit…I wanted ice cream. Not low-sugar frozen yogurt with berries. Screw berries- I wanted whipped cream! 

The key to this second strategy is exercising thoughtful intention. To do this, ask yourself: how can I make this choice a little better without robbing it of the flavors and attributes I am after?

Notice how I exercised thoughtful intention with my choice: a company who makes their own ice cream from scratch using locally sourced, fair trade ingredients. By the way, I couldn’t even finish it because it was way too sweet for my buds. Next time I’ll order it with just a drizzle of caramel sauce. 

Strategy #3: Craving something sweet and SUPER specific

If your sweet craving is so specific and can’t possibly be upgraded– which by the way is rarely the case if you really examine it–then just go for it my friend. 

For example, when I’m craving a maple cream Jack Frost donut, there’s not one impostor out there that can even come close to comparing with the real thing. And once I year…I absolutely go for it on my birthday.

Here’s the thing, if you decide to implement this strategy you must be willing to do four things:

  1. Enjoy it immensely.
  2. Eat it slowly and savor all of the flavors of this divine treat before you.
  3. Pay attention to how your body is receiving the food. Ask yourself: Is my craving satisfied yet? Even though you may have only eaten seven spoonfuls of ice cream, your craving may in fact be satisfied, and eating any more may actually make you sick!
  4. Eat it without guilt and don’t reprimand yourself for a week afterwards. If you plan on doing this, don’t even bother eating it in the first place!

In other words, don’t eat it with wild abandon like a dog who just discovered a half-eaten pot roast within paw’s reach.

Be intentional.

Plan when you’ll eat it, and then…enjoy it! 

 

Mel’s weekly food pick:
Pure Maple Syrup

Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

No, it’s not a health food. Pure maple syrup is still 100% sugar and will raise your blood sugar, but it’s one of those “upgraded” ingredients I mentioned in the above post.

It does have a slightly lower glycemic response compared to regular old table sugar, but that’s not why I consider it an upgrade.

Unlike Aunt Jemima, Log Cabin, or any other commercial pancake syrup, pure maple syrup is a product of Mother Nature and has literally one ingredient: PURE MAPLE SYRUP.

By contrast, check out the ingredient list of Aunt Jemima’s Original Syrup:

CORN SYRUP, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, WATER, CELLULOSE GUM, CARAMEL COLOR, SALT, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, SODIUM BENZOATE AND SORBIC ACID (PRESERVATIVES), SODIUM HEXAMETAPHOSPHATE

Come on! Your body deserves better than this garbage disguised as maple syrup. By the way, Aunt Jemima’s Butter Rich Syrup contains NO butter (it says so right on the front!). What you’re really tasting is artificial flavors and chemicals.  

Pure maple syrup produced earlier in the season– called Grade A Golden Color Delicate Taste or Grade A Amber Color Rich Taste– tends to be lighter in color and more subtle in flavor. Dark robust syrup is produced later in the season and is labeled as either Grade A Dark Color Robust Taste or Grade A Very Dark Color Strong Taste.

Nutritionally,  pure maple syrup offers approximately 24 different antioxidants and a handful of vitamins and minerals, including zinc, manganese, potassium, calcium, and riboflavin. Some research shows that darker syrups tend to be richer in antioxidants than lighter varieties.

Check out this week’s recipe pick for Maple Pumpkin 3-Seed Brittle, it uses a touch of pure maple syrup as the sweetener! 

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Maple Pumpkin 3-Seed Brittle 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Maple Pumpkin 3-Seed Brittle

I’ve always loved the crunch and sweetness of peanut brittle, but the store-bought kind is often made with GMO-filled sugar and corn syrup.

I’m not partial to peanuts per se, and actually found that by swapping peanuts with pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds, and sugar with pure maple syrup, not only is this recipe a peanut brittle upgrade…it’s even better than the original (and you won’t crack any teeth!). 

The original recipe comes from www.feedingbig.com. Thank you Cynthia, for a wonderful recipe!

Print Recipe
Maple Pumpkin 3-Seed Brittle
By swapping peanuts with pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds, and sugar with pure maple syrup, not only is this recipe a peanut brittle upgrade...it's even better than the original (and you won't crack any teeth!). 1 Earthfood per serving: 💚
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup white sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice or ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup white sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice or ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin seeds through salt, then add maple syrup and vanilla, mixing until well coated.
  2. Place mixture on baking sheet and press into an even layer about ⅛-inch thick. Use a piece of parchment paper to flatten the seeds, pressing out the middle so it’s slightly thinner than the edges. This will help prevent burning.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely so that it becomes crispy. Once crispy, break into bark-shaped pieces and store in airtight container.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 150Total Fat: 9 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Sodium: 120 mg; Potassium: 205 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 14 g; Dietary fiber: 2 g; Net Carbohydrates: 12 grams;Sugar: 7 g (6 grams added sugar from maple syrup);Protein: 4 g

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Avoid These Ingredients in Deli Meat

September 12th, 2019 | no comments

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In a perfect world (assuming you’re a carnivore) you would be eating only fresh meat and seafood, preparing it from scratch with tender loving care.

But let’s be honest, most of us work full-time jobs and can’t afford the luxury of preparing all of our meals from scratch. Although, I must give props to crockpot cooking, as it’s a phenomenal way to support more wholesome meals for you and your family. That’s another post altogether…but be sure to check out this week’s recipe pick below for a sinfully delicious recipe for Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili

Sometimes deli meats make their way into our lunch box because, well, it’s easy. My goal is to ease your worries with this post because as it turns out, they aren’t so bad after all– but only if you follow a few simple guidelines.  

 

Avoid deli meats with the following ingredients…
  • Sodium nitrite (a preservative used to cure meats) and sodium nitrate (a preservative): both can raise the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and diabetes
  • BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene): preservatives with potential carcinogenic (cancer-causing) properties
  • MSG: additive that can cause various adverse reactions—from headaches and migraines to endocrine disruption
  • Added hormones
  • Antibiotics 
  • Sugar in any form (cane sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, etc.)
  • Smoked/naturally smoked/smoke flavor– may contain toxic chemicals

So in a nutshell, when you look at the ingredient list on deli meat, it should only contain the meat (i.e. turkey, beef, chicken, ham, etc.), salt, and possibly herbs  or spices. Deli departments often carry whole meat that is sliced right off the bone, without any additional ingredients. Of course this would be your best bet.

 

Enjoy deli meat a maximum of 1-2 times per week (a few slices…not a half-pound!)

Yes, taking care to avoid the above ingredients is a sure step in the right direction, but understand that even though a deli meat may not have added sodium nitrites and nitrates, they still most likely contain celery juice or celery powder, which act as naturally-occurring nitrates/nitrates and likely behave similarly in the body.

 

Eat it without bread (don’t hate me until you give it a try!) 

No, I’m not calling bread evil. But the fact of the matter is, we eat too much of the starchy stuff and then sit wondering why we can’t lower our blood sugar and cholesterol numbers (not to mention that extra stubborn “roll” around the midsection that won’t budge). You can turn this around if you open your mind to new ideas. For the record, wraps are no better and actually may be worse due to the presence of trans fats.

Try one of these ideas on for size:

  • Roll a couple pieces of deli meat (see below for my favorite brands and varieties) and slice into chunks. Serve on top of a leafy green salad, or with a side of raw veggies dipped in hummus or guacamole.
  • Serve it in a lettuce wrap! Bibb/butter, Boston, and green leaf lettuce are the best for lettuce wraps. FYI…butter lettuce does NOT taste like butter. Life is so unfair! 😜
  • Make your own wheat-free wrap using this easy recipe for 5-Minute Flax Wrap!
  • Dice it up and fold into omelets (there’s no rule against packing an omelet for lunch you know!)
  • Eat it with crackers and a little natural cheese (see below for the best cracker brands out there).
  • Chop into small pieces and mix with avocado oil mayonnaise, pumpkin seeds, chopped peppers, onions and carrots, and stuff inside of a pitted avocado! 

If you love bread and aren’t willing to entertain this idea, at least cut the amount in half and switch to sprouted bread, such as Angelic Bakehouse, Alvarado Street, or (my personal favorite) Ezekiel.

Sprouting— which involves soaking grains, seeds, beans, legumes or nuts in water until a sprout forms— can reduce the gluten content by almost 50%. Studies also show that sprouted grains become easier to digest and breakdown for those with diabetes because of changes in the amount of enzymes available, which is needed to properly digest glucose.

 

Try one of these deli meat-alternatives for lunch
  • Tuna salad or egg salad made with avocado oil mayonnaise or mashed avocado and served over a beautiful leafy green salad.
  • Roasted chicken or pulled rotisserie chicken rolled up in a 5-Minute Flax Wrap. Most grocery stores sell whole roasted rotisserie chicken that you can purchase and deconstruct yourself! 
  • Natural nut or seed butter (almond, cashew, walnut, peanut, sunflower seed) with the only ingredient being the nut or seed and maybe salt, spread on gluten-free crackers such as Jilz, Flackers, or Hu brands. Top each cracker with a sliced banana “coin” for a real treat.
  • Veggie wrap: sprouts, raw veggies, avocados, sunflower seeds and greens wrapped in a hummus-spread 5-Minute Flax Wrap.
  • Leftover soup or chili. Try my Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili. 

 

There are two brands of deli meat that I feel comfortable recommending– the first is Two Brothers, which is sold in a Northeast Ohio grocery store chain called Heinen’s. My favorites in this line are:

  1. Two Brothers No Salt Turkey Breast. It has one single ingredient: turkey. Any questions?
  2. Two Brothers Organic Oven Roasted Turkey Breast: organic turkey, water, salt
  3. Two Brothers Organic Roast Beef: organic beef, sea salt, pepper

The second brand is True Story, featured in this week’s food pick below.

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
True Story Deli Meat

True Story is a third generation company based in Northern California. They practice fair trade with farmers, ensuring animals are raised humanely and without antibiotics or hormones. In fact, 100% of their animals are third party certified for animal welfare.

True Story’s ingredients are organic, non-GMO, and free of: nitrites/nitrates; MSG; hormones; fillers; artificial colors, flavors and preservatives; gluten; and carrageenan (a thickener that can cause digestive destruction and inflammation).

Three of their best products are:

  • Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
  • Smoked Turkey Breast
  • Thick Cut Oven Roasted Chicken Breast

True Story also makes a line of chicken sausage with a pretty darn clean list of ingredients.

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili

Fall is almost here, which means it’s time for all things pumpkin…and chili. 

I usually kick off the season with turkey or vegetarian chili, however this year I was in the mood for something different. Creamy and decadent is what I was aiming for, with some bean and more meat. 

The original recipe is courtesy of www.thechunkychef.com. I changed a few of ingredients and the end result was nothing short of: creamy and decadent…with some bean and more meat 😀. This chili recipe is proof that nourishing food doesn’t have to taste blah!

What makes it so creamy is the addition of a small amount of cream cheese and cream (dairy-free options offered in the recipe). I have to tell you, the difference between Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili and traditional “red” varieties is, one bowl and you are seriously satisfied to the core. That’s the beauty of fat in a meal…it turns on the satiety (fullness) switch and keeps it lit for many hours. 

Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili, along with a shredded kale salad sprinkled with toasted sunflower seeds, chopped dates, fresh basil, Kalamata olives, goat cheese, and diced avocado (and a glass of wine), makes for the perfect dinner to enjoy by a crisp autumn evening fire. And the best part—it’s SO easy. Place the ingredients in your crockpot, set it on low, and when you get home add the cream and cheese…dinner is served!

Print Recipe
Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili
This chili recipe is proof that nourishing food doesn’t have to taste blah! What makes it so creamy is the addition of a small amount of cream cheese and cream. The difference between this chili and traditional "red" varieties is, one bowl and you are seriously satisfied to the core...for many hours. 1 Earthfood per serving: 💚
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4-8 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound free-range chicken breasts Smart Chicken or Gerber Amish Farm
  • 3/4 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15-oz. cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 4-oz. cans diced green chiles
  • 24 oz. Organic chicken broth
  • 1 small handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 oz. Organic Valley cream cheese, softened for dairy-free, substitute equal amount of Kite Hill Dairy-Free Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 cup cream for dairy-free, substitute equal amount of full-fat canned coconut milk
Optional toppings:
  • sliced jalapenos
  • sliced avocados
  • dollop of sour cream
  • minced fresh cilantro
  • sprouted tortilla chips, crushed
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4-8 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound free-range chicken breasts Smart Chicken or Gerber Amish Farm
  • 3/4 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15-oz. cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 4-oz. cans diced green chiles
  • 24 oz. Organic chicken broth
  • 1 small handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 oz. Organic Valley cream cheese, softened for dairy-free, substitute equal amount of Kite Hill Dairy-Free Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 cup cream for dairy-free, substitute equal amount of full-fat canned coconut milk
Optional toppings:
  • sliced jalapenos
  • sliced avocados
  • dollop of sour cream
  • minced fresh cilantro
  • sprouted tortilla chips, crushed
Instructions
  1. Add chicken breasts to bottom of slow cooker, top with salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and cayenne pepper.
  2. Top with diced onion, minced garlic, great Northern beans, green chiles, chicken broth and cilantro. Stir, cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  3. Remove chicken to large mixing bowl, shred, then return to slow cooker. Add cream cheese and half and half, stir, then cover and cook on HIGH for 15 minutes, or until chili is creamy and slightly thickened.
  4. Stir well and serve with desired toppings.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 220Total Fat: 7 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Sodium: 850 mg; Potassium: 400 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 17 g; Dietary fiber: 6 g; Net Carbohydrates: 11 grams;Sugar: 3 g (0 grams added sugar);Protein: 21 g

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A 30-Second Habit to Elevate Your Health

September 5th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Slejven Djurakovic on Unsplash

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CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TODAY’S POST!

 

“Move in with me Mel, so you can show me exactly what to eat”

 

This is a statement I hear quite often. The only problem is, it won’t work. 

 

First of all, I would probably get on your last nerve and you’d be forced to evict me… so I don’t think that’s a good idea. 😉

Second, you don’t need me to smack that cookie out of your hand (PS: I wouldn’t do that anyway). You need to learn how to trust your body to tell you what it really needs. For the record- it doesn’t need chocolate chip cookies every night at 9:30 while watching Netflix. 

Third, it’s only when you train your taste buds to prefer wholesome foods, that you will be physically equipped to continue on the path to more wholesome food choices. 

Finally, we are not the same. And if I told you what to eat from where your taste buds are currently positioned, you’d eventually rebel. And it’s not because you lack willpower, but rather you aren’t accustomed to that way of eating. It’s actually your taste buds that will rebel. This is a recipe for failure.

 

A 30-second habit to elevate your health

I am 100% confident in the power and contagiousness of one simple habit. Here’s one you can begin today that will put you on the road to better health. It’s what I’ve been doing every single day for years, and in fact, would be the very first thing I would have you do if I moved in. Here’s the 30-second habit:

 

Fill a Mason jar (or other container) with two cups of raw veggies and eat it every day. 

 

You can fill it with a combination of any of the following vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Jicama slices 
  • Mushrooms
  • Parsnips
  • Radishes
  • Snap peas
  • String beans
  • Sweet peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Yellow squash
  • Zucchini

That’s it. That’s all I’m asking you to do. Don’t change anything else about the way you eat, unless you really feel motivated to do so.

To help you stay on track, fill seven jars on a Sunday so that you’ll have them for the week! Don’t have time for cleaning and chopping? Use the salad bar at your local grocery store (Heinen’s has the BEST!) to fill up several containers full of your favorites. It’s perfectly legal (I think 😝).

 

To dip or not to dip?

This one’s totally up to you. I am partial to naked veggies myself…but only because I trained my taste buds to appreciate them that way. I used to drown them in ranch dressing back in the day. 

Hummus and guacamole both make beautiful dips for veggies (try this week’s recipe for Guacamole with a Kick!).

I won’t slap the bottle of ranch out of your hand, don’t worry. I’m more interested in you eating the damn veggies…so ranch yourself silly if you must. Here are three upgraded brands of ranch dressing if you’re interested:

Stand in your power

Watch what happens when you stand in your power by repeating this 30-second habit day after day. I promise, after one week, something’s going to shift. It may be:

Your morning bowel movement slides out with more ease and is more “impressive” than ever, or

You have a little more energy (after all, there’s a ton of energy-generating vitamins and minerals packed in those veggies!), or

You notice that your subsequent food choices are a little more wholesome (one single habit can turn viral…in either direction. So why not make it a good one?).

 

And I’ll just bet you begin to crave raw veggies… dip or no dip! 

 

Need more help? Check out my brand new 30-Day Whole Body Health group program! In this program, I hand you a map to guide you every step of the way, from sunup till sundown. This includes telling you exactly what to do, which foods to purchase, and offering tools to help you develop your mindset to ensure success and put an end to your personal food war once and for all.

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Flackers Crackers

I know I’ve mentioned these crackers multiple times in previous posts, but it’s high time they receive their day in the spotlight. They can also be incorporated into your new 30-second habit! 

Flackers were co-founded by Dr. Alison Levitt M.D., a.k.a. The Dr. in the Kitchen. After years of preaching about the powerhouse benefits of flaxseed in a balanced diet, she decided to make a batch of crackers to hand out in her office. Her patients soon became obsessed with the nutrient-rich, crunchy treats—and so did their friends and family.

Flackers crackers are made with just a few simple ingredients: organic flaxseeds, organic apple cider vinegar, and a variety of herbs and spices (depending on the flavor). The flaxseeds are sprouted, making them easier to digest and absorb. And because these crackers are made from seeds versus grains, they are extremely safe for those watching their blood sugar and cholesterol levels. In fact, a serving contains an impressive 8 grams of fiber and a mere 3 grams of net carbohydrates. Compare that to 19 grams of carbs in a serving of Wheat Thins- of which three of the ingredients are soybean oil, sugar, and the preservative BHT. Excuse me, but these aren’t even food!

Flackers are dense, super crunchy and will NOT melt in your mouth like a Ritz… and that’s a good thing because it means you won’t gorge on a dozen of them in one sitting. Think about your last Ritz cracker experience and tell me you stuck to the 5-cracker serving size…yeah, that’s what I thought! BTW, you can thank the sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and trans fat for this insatiable side effect. Ritz crackers aren’t food; they are as close to garbage as it gets. 

My favorite way to enjoy Flackers is alongside an assortment of raw veggies, with hummus or guacamole for dipping. This could seriously be your next lunch. Check out this week’s recipe pick below for Guacamole with a Kick for a whole new take on guac!

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Guacamole with a Kick!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

Guacamole with a Kick!

Guacamole is so versatile. You can use it as a topping for salads, folded in tacos, on top of your burrito bowl, or as a dip for veggies or seed crackers! It’s a wonderful way to help your body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins naturally present in vegetables… one reason why I NEVER recommend fat-free dressing (blech!🤢).

Guacamole with a Kick is a basic guac recipe with the addition of…fermented vegetables! Whenever possible I try to sneak a health-boosting food or two into ordinary recipes. Why not? And because guacamole is already a nutritional powerhouse, this addition makes it extra good for you! 

Fermented vegetables are an amazing source of good bacteria known as probiotics, which is an essential “ingredient” for overall well-being. These special veggies can be found in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store, often near the deli department. Quality brands include: Wake Robin, Farmhouse Culture, and Cleveland Kraut. They include everything from raw sauerkraut, kimchi, beets, and green beans, to cucumbers, onions, cauliflower, and carrots. 

NOTE: Don’t heat your fermented vegetables above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, otherwise you’ll kill the beneficial bacteria.

Print Recipe
Guacamole with a Kick!
A basic guac recipe with the addition of fermented vegetables! Whenever possible I try to sneak a health-boosting food or two into ordinary recipes. Why not? Fermented vegetables are an amazing source of good bacteria known as probiotics, which is an essential "ingredient" for overall well-being. 2 Earthfoods per serving: ❤️ ❤️
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 2 large avocados, peeled and seeded
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pinch Sea salt
  • 1 cup raw sauerkraut, chopped Wake Robin, Cleveland Kraut, or Farmhouse Culture are all good choices
  • 1 small tomato, diced
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 2 large avocados, peeled and seeded
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pinch Sea salt
  • 1 cup raw sauerkraut, chopped Wake Robin, Cleveland Kraut, or Farmhouse Culture are all good choices
  • 1 small tomato, diced
Instructions
  1. Place avocado, garlic, lemon juice and sea salt in a small mixing bowl. Mash until smooth with a fork or potato masher. Mix in the sauerkraut and tomato. Serve with seed crackers, raw vegetables... or both!
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 80Total Fat: 7 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Sodium: 200 mg; Potassium: 300 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 6 g; Dietary fiber: 4 g; Net Carbohydrates: 2 grams; Sugar: 1 g (no added sugar); Protein: 2 g

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